Thames Estuary 'Boris Island' airport and Heathrow third runway decisions not before 2015 (From This Is Local London)
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Thames Estuary 'Boris Island' airport and Heathrow third runway decisions not before 2015
11:20am Friday 7th September 2012 in News
DEBATE over whether a new airport should be built in the Thames Estuary will drag on for many more months.
Confirmation from the government that there will be no firm decisions on UK airport expansion before the next general election also means the issue of whether Heathrow should have a third runway will also not be settled for at least another three years.
A future airport policy independent commission, to be chaired by former Financial Services Authority chairman Sir Howard Davies, will not publish its final report until the summer of 2015.
A decision on whether to support any of the recommendations in the commission's final report will be taken by the next government, new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said.
The coalition government was initially opposed to a third runway at Heathrow - an expansion which was supported by the last Labour administration.
But leading Tories have, of late, called for a third runway, while London Mayor Boris Johnson and architect Lord Foster have proposed new estuary airports.
Mr McLoughlin said: "This is a very difficult debate, but the reality is that since the 1960s Britain has failed to keep pace with our international competitors in addressing long-term aviation capacity and connectivity needs."
He went on: "The government believes that maintaining the UK's status as a leading global aviation hub is fundamental to our long-term international competitiveness. But the government is also mindful of the need to take full account of the social, environmental and other impacts of any expansion in airport capacity."
What options for airport capacity do you think the commission should eventually put forward? Should Heathrow be expanded or a new airport built? Is it right that the debate should be allowed to drag on until at least 2015? Add your comments below.